Ritratti italiani, Tre

La Spezia from the Portovenere Bus

In the morning, I only have a little time for the train to Florence leaves, so I take the local bus to a place called Portovenere in La Spezia. This was suggested to me by the kind hostess at the Grand Manin Hostel which is where I stayed at in La Spezia. I have to say. I had severely underestimated La Spezia after being wowed by Cinque Terre. I did not think that so soon after  such an experience like the sun setting in Manarola would I be so inspired again, but I am quickly discovering that Italy has a way of doing just that time and again.

The Portovenere Bus leaves from about a block from the hostel on Via Domenico Chiodo. It takes about half an hour to get to Portovenere. Since it’s just a bus ride, I am not expecting much. Taking a moment to look away from my phone, I look out of the window as we are driving down the coastal road. By Fezzano, I can see from the bus a wider, grander view of La Spezia. La Spezia itself is a beautiful town that is reminiscent of both Rome and Cinque Terre. There are tall buildings and pastel colors. But what hits me the hardest is seeing La Spezia cradled in the Apennine Mountains. If I could paint a portrait of any one place, any one sight, it would be La Spezia from the Portovenere Bus.

The land surrounding the bay appears as two arms open, hugging the Mediterranean waters. The military port houses warships with guns and tall yellow cranes. The fishing port houses sailboats with their many masts stabbing at the sky like so many lances ready for battle. The trees of Giardini Pubblici separate the concrete and pastel buildings from the water’s edge in the center. From here, the building and landscape steadily increases in height the further my sight moves inland, forming a sort of bowl of homes and shops. The outlying Appennines stand guard over this town. I can see clouds, likes waves, crashing into the snow-capped peaks.

I do not stay long in Portovenere for want of riding the bus again back to La Spezia just to see this vision again.


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